By Danny Cox
When the San Diego Chargers step out onto the field of Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, they’re not just going to face the Baltimore Ravens. They are going to be facing off with the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens that are sitting at 8-2 with a three-game win streak.
Baltimore will be facing off against the Chargers with a number of big names sitting on the sideline, thanks to injuries. They do however have one huge defensive player that will be on the field just when they thought he would be lost, and that’s safety Ed Reed.
Reed was originally suspended for one game after a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers‘ wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders last week. He appealed the suspension and his suspension was taken away, but he still has to pay a $50,000 fine. Reed believes that the fine is quite ridiculous and it’s a “shame it even came to this point.”
“Over my career and for them to go back to 2010 for me scratching Drew Brees on the head, even the one that happened in Week 2 with Michael Vick, c’mon, man. I’m going for the ball. It’s a contact sport,” he told reporters, according to the newspaper. “It’s a lot that needs to be done with it, man. I’m just glad I can play with my teammates. I’m not happy with the 50 grand, but what can you do?”
He may not be happy about the fine, but it’s that line that reads, “I’m just glad I can play with my teammates.”
You see, that’s great news for the Ravens, but not for the Chargers.
San Diego already has an extremely weak offensive line that isn’t protecting Philip Rivers. Lack of protection on the quarterback leads to numerous mistakes including a high number of interceptions, and that is right up Reed’s alley.
Haloti Ngata, Arthur Jones, and Ma’ake Keomeatu are three big linemen that will test the ragtag offensive line of the Chargers. The Ravens are without star linebacker Ray Lewis, but Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw will bring even more pressure on Rivers. All of that pressure is going to lead to Rivers being rushed, and that will lead to mistakes.
Mistakes that Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Chykie Brown, and Cary Williams will be waiting for.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith is definitely out though, but the Ravens should be able to compensate for his loss.
San Diego has the rushing defense needed to contain Ray Rice and keep his production to a minimum, but the pass defense just isn’t there. The Chargers are giving up 236 passing yards per game, which is good enough for only 19th in the NFL.
Joe Flacco is improving week-by-week, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. With targets like Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith on the corners and Rice coming out of the backfield, the Ravens have the opportunity to pass their way to victory without much problem.
Baltimore is certainly hoping that Jacoby Jones’ ankle injury will be healed enough for him to play on Sunday though because Flacco does using him as an offensive weapon.
The Ravens have just about everything they could ask for on both sides of the ball, and that is one of the reasons they are sitting high atop the entire AFC. Baltimore is one of the top contenders to make the Super Bowl this season, and they’re going to show that dominance against the Chargers on Sunday.
For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.